VN of the Month July 1992 - Phobos


July 1992 has some fierce competition. I consider all of Armist , Phobos , Shinjuku Monogatari and Can Can Bunny Premiere as masterpieces. But since I rate serious SF stories above the others,  Phobos is VN of July 1992.

1. Armist Armist [920703] Basement 1 2
You're the head of detective agency Armist and among your assistats are two deminoids or in other words androids with animal features. And a huge deminoid producing company requested to investigate a mass murder on its grounds.
There are several survivors after the incident, so we start questioning them. One by one enemy demigods show up and eventually their leader as well. So the volume is not really big.But game is obnoxiously beautiful. There is a large number of awesome CG. There is almost no H-scenes, but fancy outfits make up for it. What makes this game awesome is that the communication choices that have been used up disappear so excessive repetition is avoided. So it's a great light fun short game to enjoy.

2. Image イマージュ [920710] Software House Parsley 1
Image consists of three short episodes; each episode, in its turn, contains two different scenarios. The two scenarios within each episode are similar to each other, featuring the same main female character, and sharing many of the scenes (mostly of sexual nature); however, the identity of the protagonist, the circumstances leading to the development of the story, the dialogue, and the commands required to choose in order to complete the scenario are different.
All the three episodes are rather minimalistic, featuring only the protagonist and the female character; the object is always to have sex with the latter. The first episode introduces a girl from the tennis club, the protagonist being either an older boy or a younger classmate. The second revolves around a female high school student who stays in the school after classes; the protagonist can be a male classmate or a male teacher. Finally, the third episode is dedicated to the lovely school nurse, with the protagonist taking two alternate routes to win her graces.
An ugly narrow-minded game. Wrong choice leads to game over.

3. Yumeji - Asakusa-Kitan 夢二 浅草綺譚 [920710] Fairytale
The hero is a painter who got famous for a painting of a girl. But five years later he lost his wife and his paintings lost its colors, yet he remains well known. One day he had a dream that another man was selling his counterfeit paintings, but could not grasp the essence of a woman. And to get to the essence of a woman they went to a strip show.
Again FairyTale and again quite an experimental work. Picture is again in sepia tone. Setting is Taisho democracy era which is rather unusual. Unlike Shinjuku Monogatari there are a lot of still standing CG and models here. It's more like a literature work, but with a rather weak ending. And due to the Saori incident just several months before the game's release, most of the H scenes were self-corrected. So this work remains one of the experimental era weird works that nobody knows about, with a very good Taisho atmosphere, but unsatisfying ending.

4. Alice no Yakata 2 ALICEの館2 [920715] Alice Soft
An Alice Soft fan-disc containing four short games and varied extra content, such as being able to listen to the complete soundtrack of all their previous games.
The following games are part of this collection:
1. A mini-RPG set after the events of Rance 3. You take the control of Patton as he tries to beat an M Land attraction during Hunty's absence.
2. A short adventure game about a pair policewomen trying to solve the case of a serial rapist.
3. After the disappearance of Rance at the end of Rance 3, the princess of Leazas Lia takes her frustrations out on monsters she takes captive. You play as a valiant Okayu Fever as he assaults Leazas castle to save the captive monsters.
The game inherits the Rance 3 battle system and is composed of a set of preset encounters.
4. A quiz game in which you get a naked CG or a short ero scene with an Alice Soft heroine after succesfully answering the questions. Includes heroines from the Rance series, Toushin Toshi and D.P.S. SG Set 2.
I can't really stand fandisks.

5. Phobos フォボス [920716] Himeya Soft 1 2
Mars colonists broke out a war for independence. Mech and android war came to a truce, but Mars resources were too exhausted to continue course on independence. Half a year later military secrets documents were stolen from Mars and private investigator from the Earth Ryuuichi with his android assistant Leyla are tasked to recover them.
Himeya Soft games hold special place since they were the first to start translating their games in English. The more intriguing are their untranslated early works.This is a cyberpunk work so the city a major role - high tech devastated by war, Chinese mafia, gambling and giant companies - they all make atmosphere feel serious and cool. On the other hand there is a vivid depiction of protagonist anxieties after surviving the war and loosing his wife there seeking for a substitute in an android. So the first half of the game definitely gives a masterpiece impression, but after that a much more hasty direction is seen. The incident gets settled but the heart wounds of the hero remain and what persists is the feeling of lingering sadness. Both scenarios of Bacta and Phobos were written by Mr.Abe and they share such features as charismatic hero and grappling atmosphere. But while Bacta was more of a horizontal axis work with much fun scattered around and many unexpected events, Phobos is rather a vertical axis game with impact on logical unwinding story line. And it was very rare for that time to put so much emphasis on scenario alone. For that Phobos should be given credit as a hidden gem of pc-98 era.

6. Shinjuku Monogatari 新宿物語 [920723] Fairytale 1
Hero inherited an antique shop after her father who had disappeared. She has good intentions, but gets into various problems and does not even neglect transportation of white powder as luggage. And eventually she becomes a target of a professional killer.
This work has exactly one suiting word - "experimental". After Saori incident Fairy Tale explored many directions, but this one is probably the boldest. First, graphics is made in sepia color. Second, this is an all-age story. Third, character design is prepared by manga writer and it totally differs from anything presented in VN games before. Fourth, almost all images imitate a cinema and there aren't still images - every CG shows the motion. Fifth, a rare girl perspective. There were several popular youth novels in 1980s and this work definitely has that spirit inside. Running away from the house, meeting new people, travelling around the country - that kind of spirit. And this game has a huge number of charming characters. Game has a very fresh look and great spirit. It is one of the best games of 1992 and is unduly forgotten.

7. Can Can Bunny Premiere きゃんきゃんバニー プルミエール [920730] Cocktail Soft 1 2
Lonely man returns home after work only to find seven Gods of Luck sitting in his room. Goddess Swatty explains that she's going to use the power of seven Gods of Luck to help hero find a girlfriend.
There is an English review, but it's written by a person without knowledge of Japanese. So first three works in the series had nothing common with a VN. And it's the first work to introduce well-known in pc-98 era Swatty goddess. Basically, this is a Nampa game. Compared to earlier strategy Can Can Bunny games the degree of difficulty has fallen considerably. So it's a nice game with good characters and talks and no H material. The only problem that year 1992 is the year of Classmate game made by Elf and that game marked a totally new era for VNs dividing the games on before Classmate and after Classmate.

8. Kikou Soushin Val-Kaizer 機甲装神ヴァルカイザー [920731] Silence
In 21st century humanity started other planets colonization. Along with "bioloader" research to create a strengthened outer protective skin was underway. The lead researcher was afraid of military use of bioloader and set an explosion in the laboratory. His sister was found on the place of explosion miraculously saved.
The company originated from MIN and had close ties with Sogna, so it's not a surprise that it's a graphics oriented story with frequent use of animation. This is a fast-paced action story about Luna, her kidnapped sister, military organization and small robot Val-Kaizer who has some connection with Luna. Game features pseudo-rpg exploration while escaping the facility, but overall is a very easy command selection type of game. Game does not have HCG, but at the end it features part 2 of the story with HCG, but part 2 never came out. The visuals and cute characters make this short game very entertaining.

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